Lois Burell

JUNE 14, 1930-DECEMBER 31, 2023


Lois Burrell, 93, died peacefully at The Denver Hospice on Sunday, December 31st. She remained independent in her own house until the last few days. A widow, she was preceded in death by her husband Ernest Burrell and her daughter, Pameela Burrell. She is survived by her daughter-in-law Elizabeth Twomey, many adoring cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends, and her beloved dog Tewa and bird Babee.

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to one of the most amazing storytellers we have known, Lois Burrell. She was one of the original Corn Mothers and a frequent contributor to the Tummy Tales series of short stories centered around family and family foods. Her stories of growing up in the deep South were filled with humor, compassion, kindness, and a deep commitment to instilling respect and understanding between all people. Even at 93, this amazing woman insisted on living on her own and taking care of herself. She was a devoted Christian and took her faith in God seriously. She walked her talk, and even after losing her beloved daughter Pamela, she never wavered in her faith.

Lois Burrell was an internationally known storyteller who thrilled listeners with stories from various cultures. Her treasure chest included biographies, myths, pioneer tales, personal stories, and her specialty—African and African-American folktales and slave stories. Lois was a longtime board member and presenter for the Rocky Mountain Storytellers Conference and a member of the Traveling Rainbow Tellers, a multicultural storytelling troupe that has enlightened as it has entertained. She also contributed her energy and dedication to teach senior exercise classes in Brighton for over 20 years late in life.

Lois contributed stories to four Tummy Tales books—Pinch a Lotta Enchiladas, Ole! Posole! Biscochitos for Mis Jitos, and No Pepperonis! Just Chicharrones. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Virginia State University and an M.A. in Medical Social Work from Indiana University. After retiring, Lois was active in community activities, particularly at the Senior Center in Brighton, Colorado. She received many awards, including Brighton’s Outstanding Senior Award, the AARP National Community Senior Award, the Norwest Bank Red Sweater Award, and the Denver Urban Spectrum Community Person of the Month Award. In 2019, she was honored by Denver’s Corky Gonzales Library for her decades-long contributions toColorado’s cultural legacy. She made her last public storytelling presentation at the BrightonLibrary on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 at the age of 92, a powerful and fitting tribute to her amazing talent.